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Spermatogonial stem cells as a therapeutic alternative for fertility preservation of prepubertal boys


Spermatogonial stem cells, which exist in the testicles since birth, are progenitors cells of male gametes. These cells are critical for the process of spermatogenesis, and not able to produce mature sperm cells before puberty due to their dependency of hormonal stimuli. This characteristic of the reproductive system limits the preservation of fertility only to males who are able to produce an ejaculate. This fact puts some light on the increase in survival rates of childhood cancer over the past decades because of improvements in the diagnosis and effective treatment in pediatric cancer patients. Therefore, we highlight one of the most important challenges concerning male fertility preservation that is the toxic effect of cancer therapy on reproductive function, especially the spermatogenesis. Currently, the experimental alternative for fertility preservation of prepubertal boys is the testicular tissue cryopreservationfor, for future isolation and spermatogonial stem cells transplantation, in order to restore the spermatogenesis. We present a brief review on isolation, characterization and culture conditions for the in vitro proliferation of spermatogonial stem cells, as well as the future perspectives as an alternative for fertility preservation in prepubertal boys. The possibility of restoring male fertility constitutes a research tool with an huge potential in basic and applied science. The development of these techniques may be a hope for the future of fertility preservation in cases that no other options exist, e.g, pediatric cancer patients.

Stem cells; Spermatogonia; Infertility; male; Cell culture techniques; Child

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